The Politics of Starvation (p.992)
Producing action is a type of leadership. It is a deliberate choice to move or think in a direction without being acted upon first. This does not mean the direction or content created is necessarily accurate or reasonable, it just means that one took a step without being pushed. Others need to be acted upon in order to take a step. This merely illuminates the difference between an actor and a reactor. In a nutshell, it is easier to react than act because another determines your direction.
Let us create a scenario--dare I say utopia--where everyone is an actor rather than a reactor. How then does any communication happen if everyone is initiating? Through active listening. Active listening connects people because it allows one to actively explore and discuss another's thoughts and ideals without merely being an unreflective soundboard. As a result, active listening is an extremely healthy tool to have as an actor, and is arguably one of the crux's that determines if one is a bully-type actor (control and power-oriented) or if one is a balanced-type actor who allows other's to present their individuality sans oppression. Again, just because one produces action does not mean the means are reasonable or responsible.
Practicing active listening can help us become balanced actors because it involves the engagement of the intellect through observation, causal linkage, and tete-a-tete, or intentional back-and-forth discourse. This latter concept is not a conversation of platitudes, it is a serious and mature conversation of what we each perceive, how and why. Developing our ability to actively listen thus helps brings perspective to our own premises, enabling and informing our own premises. The discourse involved in active listening is an originality-developer and -sharpener. It gives us the ability to lead ourselves because it develops our own thoughts rather than relying upon memory and social scripts.
Think of original content as the understanding produced through an honest, intimate reflection, rather than as a unique thought. Trust me, if originality were limited to uniqueness there would only be a handful of books ever written and speeches ever made. Thus, our particular purview allows each of us to produce indigenous content regardless of whether the conclusion has been thought before. Originality is by definition origin-based, not conclusion or product based. Many people get tripped up by the fact that what they are doing has been done before. So? Say/do it the best you can in your own authentic way, because that in essense is a practice of originality. But here is the catch: unless you stay open to thoughtful evaluation and critique, the probability of your indigenous content being emotional opinions rather than reasonable substance skyrockets.
As I mentioned before, not all actors operate the same way. What do you think happens when a bully-actor and a reactor cross paths? The same thing that happens when you strike a caged animal's cage; anxiety and most likely aggression. This is the whole point of why we even care who is an actor, what kind of actor we are, and who is a reactor. You can choose whichever you like, however understand the odds are not in your favor for having a well-balanced, insightful conversation if you are a reactor, or a bully-actor, because if you come across someone like yourself there will be conflict. If you come across a balanced actor they just may ignore you because you are unstable and subscribe to a volatile behavioral doctrine.
Balanced actors are leaders because they produce action, and multiple balanced actors can interact well through active listening, because it allows them to understand when they should lead and when they should be led. The old adage becomes pertinent: In order to know how to be an excellent leader, you need to know how to be an excellent follower. Understanding this enables us to earnestly and candidly look outside ourselves for guidance when we know we need it. That faking it will not get us anywhere. And this is the aspect of leadership that everyone can learn and implement, whether they are a natural leader or not.
Thus, creating original content and ideals is something available to each of us, as is the tool of active listening, therefore the ability to become a balanced actor. Natural ability or intelligence are irrelevant because these things are a product of the will.
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